Eight young men sat on couches in the common room…waiting, wondering, sometimes anxiously or fearfully, for the dogs. Fear is powerful. Fear drives both human and dog to do irrational things. But the true power is in overcoming the fear.


On this Saturday morning eight young men who lived at Monroe Harding waited for something special.  Different circumstances had brought these men together. Similar things bound them together. They were recreating their young lives, learning new things, overcoming fear, and they all knew Tito. There are moments in everyone’s life when a little help, a little community, and the love of a canine, can spark the imagination. Imagining a new way of life can bring great and wonderful change. Tito happened to be that spark.


Have you ever been paralyzed by fear? Imagine your worst fear – a spider, the monster under the bed, the dark, a dog. How did you overcome the fear? Perhaps you didn’t. Perhaps you learned to manage the fear. A light can chase away the dark, boxes under the bed can keep monsters from living there. Overcoming fear is being able to walk into that dark room without the sweaty palms and racing heart.


One young man, we’ll call him Mickey, just happened to be terrified of dogs. Each Saturday folks from Caring Connections showed up at Monroe Harding with three dogs – Tito, Penny, and D’Rose. Mickey and his housemates worked with the pups, teaching them to sit, stay, down, and come when called. Over a period of weeks Mickey and Tito learned to trust each other.


The fear was conquered, and Mickey found a friend in Tito. In times of need, a friend can make a difference. Mickey wrote this about Tito with the hope that it will bring Tito closer to finding home:


I recommend that Tito should be adopted. Tito should be adopted because he is a sweet dog. He is very playful and he is fun to have around. Tito is not like other dogs that won’t listen to its owner. Tito is a very good, respectful dog. Everyone in our cottage loves Tito and if we could we would keep him ourselves. If you adopt Tito you would love him and would never want to give him away. I refer Tito to being my best friend. I just hope that you would adopt my best friend, Tito.


There are moments in our lives when a little community, a little help and the love of a little canine can move mountains.


Caring Connections, a program of the Crossroads Campus, connects dogs like Tito with young men, like Mickey, living at Monroe Harding. Our purpose is bringing humans and dogs experiencing hardship together to learn, to overcome, and to improve their lives. The support of the community, through volunteering and donations, makes this possible.

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